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Allan Houston and FISLL are Making an Impact on Howard Students

The former NBA player is providing Howard University students with unprecedented opportunities within fashion through the social impact brand.

Since retiring, former NBA player Allan Houston has been paving roads for people to have opportunities to achieve their dream. In doing so, Houston founded FISLL, a brand whose initials stand for faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership, and legacy, with a mission to help people find their purpose.

“To go somewhere in life you need a set of values and principles and a certain mindset,” Houston said in a Zoom interview with Boardroom. “I didn’t want to just say this is a cool experience where you can create clothes, I wanted the driver to be ‘what are you really trying to accomplish and what are the values that are going to sustain you?’ That’s why these five values have become my lens and framework for life.”

According to its website, FISLL is a “social impact brand providing leadership training, legacy development, and consumer products. FISLL exists to engage, equip and inspire people to Live Better, Perform Better, and Lead Better.”

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Houston and FISLL currently have a brand partnership with Howard University that allows students to design their own clothing. The items were curated by FISLL, Howard, and the College Licensing Company (CLC). They were also showcased during Howard’s homecoming in the school’s fashion show.

Opportunities to design clothing for a brand can be hard to find for college students. But FISLL has already laid the groundwork with fashion and apparel due to Houston’s NBA ties. The brand is licensed to create NBA merchandise. Both Fanatics and Lids encouraged Houston to create and use the FISSLL app to include students in the design process. From there, the FISLL team selected students to be part of the company.

One of the Howard students who jumped on board Houston’s FISLL ship is Joshua Heron.

“We’re seeing people walk around with the FISLL jeans and sweater and you see where the design is permeating to students here,” Heron said in a phone interview. “The creativity displayed through the designs is a testament to their collaboration and patience. Mr. Houston’s humility allows students to have a voice and a say in the direction of where the brand is going on Howard University’s campus.”

Part of the reason Houston wants to be connected to HBCUs is due to his lineage. His maternal grandfather attended Fisk University and later played for Howard University’s football team.

“Being able to give back means a lot. Black communities need the resources, community, and network to know that they can have the same resources to know that they can advance their pathways. There are a lot of individuals and institutions that really want to help advance generational sustainable wealth in the Black community and hopefully, this becomes something we can continue to perpetuate.”

As Joshua Heron notes, the opportunities within fashion and merchandising have been great thus far for Howard students. Houston and FISLL’s true impact, however, lies internally among the Bison.

“Everyone that works for FISLL and Mr. Houston has a passion to impact others no matter where they are in life. With all of that comes sacrifice and wanting to leave a legacy and teaching that to us has been vital,” said Heron.

Impact: that’s what it’s all about for Houston. And it’s what keeps him going well after his playing days are over.

“I just want to make sure I’m looking at all opportunities for people to feel like there is a true collaboration and there are opportunities. I want people who have creative ideas and platforms to make a positive difference,” Houston said.

“That’s what excites me. The apparel is great, but what matters the most is the impact within the people that are involved.”

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